Every athlete will have those days when they ask themselves why? Why are you waking up at 5am to go to practice right now? Why do you spend hours in the gym trying to make yourself stronger or faster? Why do you miss classes and have to stay up late making up homework or notes or tests and quizzes? But every athlete should always have an answer to that why!
I have multiple whys and whenever I’m struggling at practice or having a bad game or even a bad day in general I remind myself of them and constantly think of them to motivate me and get me through that tough time.
My first why is that I want to be the best player in the gym and make history. I want to be noticed and push my teammates to better themselves and help our chances of making history and winning a SUNYAC title for the Geneseo volleyball program. There’s no better feeling than doing something that’s never been done before for your program. Our team is on that path and we made huge steps this year in the right direction. That alone should motivate us to get in the gym every chance and work towards that goal and that should be a part of each and everyone of our whys.
My second why is that I want to prove people wrong who ever doubted me. For those of you reading who don’t know volleyball is a “tall person sport.” I am 5’5 and people have laughed in my face when I tell them I play outside. It has made me even more driven to push myself to get better each time I step on the court. The worst feeling as an athlete is being told that you aren’t good enough due to something you can’t control. But you do control how you react to people doubting you. Being told all of this just makes me work harder in the gym to increase my vertical and use different skills when hitting against a big block. And if you are a smaller hitter you know there’s no better feeling than intentionally tooling the block.
My last and most important reason as to why I play is for all of those who have given up so much and pushed me to be where I am today. I have been grateful to have such amazing coaches and parents in my life who never doubted me and helped me become not only the player but the person I am today. Endless drives to late practices and training sessions that I will forever be grateful for. But most of all I am grateful for those who would grab a beach volleyball in the summer and ask my little 5 year old self if I wanted to bump the ball around. Neptune beach where I first picked up a volleyball will forever be in my heart and my head when stepping on the court each day. Someone always in my mind is my Uncle Mike who suddenly passed away a few years back. He was one of a kind and never said no to playing a crappy game of beach volleyball with me starting at the age of 12. I would barely be able to serve over the net and he would be so excited to step on the court with me and would always say “you’ll be better than me one day and when I ask you Gab to play a pickup game with me you better say yes!” Well Uncle Mike I only wish I could play one more stupid pick up beach volleyball game with you and hear you laugh when you ace my dad. He was someone who enjoyed everyday of his life and was always smiling and laughing. So when I’m super frustrated at myself or at a game I remember being on neptune beach as a little girl trying to learn how to serve over the net. I will forever be grateful for you Uncle Mike and you are forever in my heart each time I step out on the court.
So for all those athletes who are having a rough practice or game or even season, take a breath, remember why you do what you do, and remember to enjoy it!